American Elm : UVM Campus

American elm - College Street

American elms making a “tunnel” down College Street in Burlington, Vermont before they got Dutch elm disease. (Postcard Collections, Special Collections, Bailey-Howe Library, University of Vermont)

“’In no other part of the country, is there a tree which occupies the same position in the affection of the people as the Elm does in that of the inhabitants of New England’” 

(Campanella, 2003, p. 5). – Charles Sprague Sargent (1890)

     This type of deep affection for elms has been true at UVM for many years. In 1876, students wanted to “beautify” the campus for the centennial, so they helped get double rows of American elms planted along the sidewalks and streets of UVM. Eventually the city of Burlington, started to do the same thing, so these trees ended up connecting the college and the city. College Street in Burlington was known to have so many American elms that their big canopies practically created a tunnel down the street.

American elm - Davis Center

The 20 disease-resistant American elms, lining Main Street in front of the Davis Center at the University of Vermont. (Kathryn Maitland, September 20, 2013)


     Before Dutch elm disease got to UVM there were over one hundred American elms. In 1972, there were thirty and in the 1980s there were six. Now there are twenty-eight small American elms that line Main Street in front of the Davis center (twenty of these elms are on the side of the street that the Davis Center is on). These American elms are disease-resistant elms. There are other American elms sprinkled throughout central campus: one in front of the Davis Center, one next to the stairs between the Davis Center and the Aiken Building, one in front of Morrill Hall, and one on the green on South Prospect Street. This shows how at UVM, these new disease-resistant American elms are mostly being used for their original purpose at UVM and in Burlington: to line the streets.